Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Crane Count: 384

384 Cranes so far, and the kids are still so motivated! Today was a chilly, drizzly day and I had at least a dozen kids give up their recess time and come to my room to help crank out paper cranes. Some kids have made over 30 themselves. We sat in my classroom in near silence, everyone diligently working while one student counted today's haul. It was so cheerful the day after we started this so see kids randomly pop into my classroom with a handful of cranes he or she had made outside of class. Today I discovered that some of the kids actually got a head start on collecting donations for Japan. They went door to door in their neighborhood and gathered over $100 by themselves! I did not ask them to do that at all, they just went for it. WOW. The extraordinary character of these kids is so moving. I've had a couple of students who are proficient in crane-making teach the others who are struggling, and I've seen the struggling ones gradually become the proficient ones and begin to teach others too.

An Old Standby with a Twist

Georgia O'Keefe flowers. We all do them. But this is the best result I've had, so I thought I'd share. Second graders are very creative and unafraid of drawing yet, so I had them draw their flowers from looking at silk ones I put at each table. I explained carefully about not drawing what they imagine they should see, but instead drawing what they ACTUALLY see. We call those ideas of what something is supposed to look like "Schema." As in, previously learned information.

So the drawings themselves were very interesting. I required the kids to use asymmetrical balance, and go off all four sides of the paper, leaving as little negative space as possible. After drawing with pencil, they traced over it in Sharpie.

Next I had them use tissue paper and diluted white glue to color the flowers, brushing over the tissue like a decoupage. Lastly, after this was finished and dried, I had them add value shading and color accents with chalk pastels. (We got lucky and happen to have a box of Prismacolor Nupastels for each table - a donation.) For many students, most of what they did was trace the sharpie lines with black chalk pastel, and then blend it with a paper towel. I was thoroughly thrilled with how they turned out, and how well the kids listened and learned to use a new medium.

After everyone was finished, I lined them up outside and sprayed the artworks with Aqua Net hairspray as a fixative. They LOVED that. I have no idea why, but that seemed like the coolest thing in the world to them!

If any of you readers have a different way of doing this project that you just love, share it with me! I also wonder how 2nd graders are doing for you at your school. Is it me, or are they all super sweet this year?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Paper Crane Count: 331

So far the kids have made 331 origami cranes, on their way to 1000. I think I've figured out what we can do with them as well. We will have to take time outside of school to set up a little booth at a community event or location (like outside of Kroger) to collect donations to help Japan. We will give the money to the Red Cross, but will not use their name or logo.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Quick Zentangle Swap with COLOR

I just created another Zentangle swap on Swap-Bot. This time I specified that the tiles can include black, white, gray, and up to two colors. Come on and join in! Click Here.
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Friday, March 18, 2011

Grocery Bag Zentangle

For this, I used a square of paper I cut from a grocery bag. At first I wasn't really thinking much, then it occurred to me I actually had three values to play with. So I began using the brown as my middle value and making shadows and highlights with the black and white. Later attempts will be more refined, I suspect. I like doing this! The white pen is just awesome. It's a Pentel Sunburst MED Gel, by the way. I was tempted to get the gold and silver pens too, since a gold & silver in the same pack was the same price as one white pen. But I dunno, I am afraid of heading into the "scrapbooky" world. Scrapbooks are just not me AT ALL. No offense of any of you scrappers. I just never got into it.

Crane Count: 183

Yesterday during play practice I had a lot of students sitting and waiting to go on stage for their parts, so I handed them origami paper and told them to make paper cranes. Not only were they more quiet, but they made a huge bag of cranes! It brought our total up to 183. I had to fix about 20 out of the 70 or so they made yesterday, but that's not bad. I had one kid tell me his goal is to make 32 so that he will have contributed his 8 plus covered 3 more kids who weren't able to make theirs.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Paper crane count is up to 107. More than 10% of our goal. :)

Crane count: 89

It's going slower than I thought. At least that gives me more time to figure out what to DO with them all! Apparently fundraising for the Red Cross has all sorts of regulations associated with it, so I'll probably have to make some calls.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Weekly Challenge #13: Non-Dominant Hand

Here's my Zentangle that I drew using my left, non-dominant hand. I kind of like the line quality. It looks nervous or something. I think, coming up, I'm going to try some on brown paper using my white pen along with my blacks.

Crane Count: 36

Day One has begun and we have 36 cranes. Most of them aren't too wrinkly. I am still working out how to display and distribute them. I know at least with 130 5th graders, each kid can make 8 and then we'll have 1040, enough to give one to all the school teachers and still have 1000. But that's just enough to make one wish. And they don't really need wishes over there right now. Prayers yes, but what else can we do? I doubt there is even any way to send mail. We will have to get connected with an organization like the Red Cross who can actually physically go there to help. Wheels turning. We'll see.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Thousand Cranes

OK, I'm just gonna do it. I've been wanting to have a class make a thousand paper cranes since I first heard the story when I was a kid. And the time is just right now. I have a good group of 5th graders who are diligent enough to take on the task. I have 5th grade teachers who are in the middle of a unit on World War II, and on top of that, and probably most importantly, Japan has been on my mind and the minds of many of us lately.
I don't know how I'm going to tie this all together, but I already had a 5th grade teacher email me and say she would encorporate the Sadako story into her language arts lesson. So now, I HAVE to do it; she's planning around it too! :)
Two old friends of mine are currently living in Japan. They don't know each other and probably never will. But both of them have been sharing very different points of view about the tsunami and earthquakes. One of them is actually a friend I met through my ex boyfriend, and we just kept in touch. He was born in Japan and worked in the US for a while, then moved back. He is mostly disgusted with the lack of organization and communication consistency going on in the country in the wake of the disaster. My other friend is a Tennessee native who moved to Japan to teach English, and wound up marrying a Japanese man. She lives there now, too. She recently touched my heart by sharing about her experience in shelters, not knowing whether her husband, who works in another city, was even alive.
I'm wondering what kind of impact I can make on my students and perhaps help the victims of this disaster somehow. Fundraisers and charity collections are really restricted in my school district; there's so much red tape, it's ridiculous. But at the very least, maybe I can help my students understand that yes, even though this happened very far from here, those folks are people too.
I know it's nowhere near the magnitude of what happed in Japan, but these kids do remember last year's flood in middle Tennessee where we all live. Their own little down was very heavily damaged from flooding, and we were very fortunate that our school building did not sustain any damage. Still there were students of mine who lost their homes.
I dunno... my brain is still kicking the idea around. But we're gonna start folding. Any of you out there in cyberland: maybe you've got a thought about how to best tie all this together? Please share!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Zentangle Swap

I just created a swap on Swap-Bot! Wow, I feel really productive. Now you can be productive by going and signing up! :) Click Here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Zentangle Inspired ATCs with Little Words

Here I go combining three things into one...mostly because I'm obsessed with Zentangle at the moment. I expect to remain obsessed right up until half my students are done with the project, then I'll be sick of it and have to suffer through the rest...but maybe not. Haha!

I am also a member of Swap-Bot, and participated in a swap involving little words. We swapped a little bunch of words with our partners and then made ATCs from the words. Here are mine.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Zentangle Challenge

I've been so into the Zentangle thing lately that I decided to try this challenge from a fellow blogger. "Something Blue" was designed to break out of the usual black, white, and gray palette of a typical Zentangle. I made two examples.

I can't wait to try these with my students once they finish their current project!

You can find the original challenge here.